Controlling Beetles in Fresh Logs

Beetles under the bark of a fresh log don't mean you can't saw the log and use the wood. November 12, 2008

I was given the logs of two Southern red oak trees that I intended to use for firewood. However, the butt logs (dbh 20") look very nice and I may have them sawn. I have no access to a dry kiln so must air dry them. The logs were cut this spring after the trees had leafed out. The logs have many beetle holes with dust trails along their lengths. Is the heartwood likely still suitable for sawing, i.e., likely the beetles are not in the heartwood?

Forum Responses
(Sawing and Drying Forum)
From contributor A:
You bet. The bugs are still in the cambium layer and will not be in the wood yet. Saw away and sticker. Borate solution will help keep bugs out if in the dry. The size you have, you may want to qsaw to get some pretty boards.

From contributor M:
What is borate, and where do you get it?

From contributor G:
Why not saw them? I saw a lot of oak that is not typical of what larger mills might take. Part of the joy of sawing that I have found is that you will have wood with much more character and color, stuff that might not make it to the lumber store. Most places that sell lumber for furniture rarely carry anything below FAS. If you are using the lumber personally it can be one way to stand apart from the crowd.

From the original questioner:
I'm no stranger to getting my own wood sawn. But I have always either gotten my logs from trees that were cut during the dormant season, or had them sawn pretty soon after the tree was cut. My posting here really had to do with the bug evidence I am already noticing on the outside of these logs.

Over the years here in north Florida, I have built up a pretty good lumber supply of cherry, red oak, beech, red cedar, and cypress, plus a small amount of white oak, all from local trees. Getting a log sawn is like opening a present - sometimes with a very nice surprise inside.

From Professor Gene Wengert, forum technical advisor:
It is possible to eliminate or greatly retard insect issues in stored logs by using a sprinkler to keep the logs wet. The equivalent of 2" of rain a day is needed and the sprinkler must cover the ends and faces completely. Larger drops are often best as they are not easily wind blown.

From contributor A:
That is 56,000 gallons a day to cover 1 acre of logs. And now the EPA regulates the runoff if it is not recovered and reused. For small scale just throw them in the pond. This is why we have mill ponds (and because of water wheels).